Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In a Flash Spiced African Beef Stew

I'm a comfort food-aholic and PROUD. But one thing I can't stand is having to wait when I am hungry. Which is why this recipe is wonderful. You get all the wonderful warm feelings of a nice hot stew, without having to slave over the stove. This is a great meal for those on the go and warms up wonderfully for lunches the next day. The spices in it take you away from the Dente-Moore type stew many people think of when stew is mentioned and it's a great way to improve on your stew skills for when you make that Guiness Stew! Plus I can break out the Tagine with this one too!

Quick African Beef Stew:
1 pound stew beef lean (I cut the pieces up smaller as well, I like bite size pieces verse hunks)
1 onion sliced
1/2 pound of baby carrots
1/2 bag of frozen peas
2 diced up almost tender already boiled potatoes if you'd like (i typically serve this over whole wheat couscous, so I forgo them as well as they add some time to this recipe because you want to boil them until almost tender)
1 can of beef Broth (15ish oz)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne
1 tablespoon of flour
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the meat and in a hot largeish pot add 1 tablespoon of oil until it is almost smoking. Add Meat and let cook until your desired doneness (Medium is about 2 minutes). Take meat from pan and put on a plate to the side. Add other tablespoon of oil and add the onions and and carrots and let them cook for about 3 minutes. Add all the spices and stir the veggies around. Sprinkle the flour in and stir the veggies in it. Add the Beef Broth and bring to a boil and let boil for about 2-3 minutes and then bring it to a simmer. Add already cooked potatoes, frozen peas and beef back to the pot and let cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

I do about a cup over the couscous.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I love Cheese...

Baked Ziti. The Cheesey mother of all American inspired Italian cooking. And no I did not take this picture. Like a Genius I left my charger in San Diego. (Image from:

But I SWEAR my Ziti Looked just as tasty. And I was even able to use my all purpose pot/pan/stew pot again-- like with the enchiladas.

And I must stop now before I get into the cheese and pasta and sauce and apologize. I didn't forget about this blog, I've been busy and cooking just hasn't been around much lately-- I've been cooking but it's been boring and I'm tired so I just go to bed rather than posting. BUT I PROMISE TO POST MORE.

Ok back to the Ziti. Since I'm a not-so-Single chef, I like to cook one or two meals a week and use the left over to either make new meals or just eat at something until it's gone. This week, with Bikram Yoga sucking the cooking soul out of me, I decided to cook once and make it last. This is a great idea for those out there that don't have much time to cook. Just add a nice salad or steamed veggies to this and you're ready to dine.

Plus you get to use your wonderful meatball skills you learned earlier again! Wohoo!

Gin's Baked Ziti with Meaty Balls:
1lb ziti
32oz of Ricotta (I used Part Skim, while I am a health nut, I also know that fat free can curdle and no one likes that.)
2 cups of gooooood Mozerella Cheese (Spend the extra money- trust me!)
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
2 cans diced tomatos (Italian if available)
1 8oz can sauce
2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 pinches of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
splash of milk
hot sauce
4 tablespoons garlic
1 onion diced

Oven to 350

Cook Pasta until al dente! Drain and then cover to keep moisture in. Dry pasta does not take the sauce well.

a bit of oil in your sauce pan, add 1/2 the onions and 1 pinch of red pepper flakes and saute until almost translucent and then add 2 tablespoons of garlic. Add two cans of diced tomatoes and let cook for about 1 minute, then add sauce and bring to a boil, once it has reached a boil add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and bring to a simmer. and pull from stove to "cool"-- about 15 minutes. Add Ricotta to Sauce and mix well.

Season Meat in a bowl. Add breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, hot sauce, pepper flakes, other half of onion and other 2 tablespoons of garlic. Mix together and form balls. In a hot pan place meatballs and turn to brown on 2-3 sides-- you want them juicy and a bit soft. put on plate.

Put pasta and meatballs in the sauce and mix well. Put mixture into a large 9x13 pan and put mozzarella on top (if you have some great Parm, add it too!)

Bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly brown on top.

A nice green or greek salad, some wine and you've got yourself a good meal!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Leftovers leftover

My mother was raised on Leftover night, my father was not. I love leftovers much like my mother. I find joy in not having to cook for myself another night or having something yummy for lunch at work the next day.

Well I roasted that chicken and I thought I would share my, pictureless, leftovers that I created with you all. Please note, I created all of this from what was in my house.

1. BBQ chicken "pizza"
1 tortilla chicken from the chicken-- i pulled everything off my bird and threw it in a big bag. BBQ sauce of your choice shredded Mozzerella Cheese In an oven safe frying pan, place on stove and heat on med-high and turn oven on 350 degrees. heat up tortilla, add a thin layer of bbq sauce, cheese, and chicken with a drizzle of bbq on top and pop in oven until cheese is melted.
2. Greek Pita Tostada
1 Pita or tortilla 1-2 tablespoons of Hummus chicken from chicken 1/4 cup plain yogurt 2 tablespoons Feta cheese about 1/4th cup cucumber 2-3 teaspoons cumin 1/4 cup lettuce 1/8 cup tomato diced In a frying pan, lightly as you can coat the pan with olive oil and put pita/tortilla in to lightly coat it as well. Add some salt and "fry" it up. cut a bit of cucumber up into thin and small slices, mix in with 1/4 cup of yogurt, feta and cumin. Once pita is crisp take it off pan and add chicken to warm it up. spread hummus on pita, add warm chicken, the yogurt mixture, lettuce and diced tomato!

3. Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Good Bread-- two slices Margerine or butter Cheese Chicken Any fun sauces in the fridge--pesto, spicy mustard, etc. cooked Bacon if you have it butter outside of the bread slices, put on sauce/condiments, bacon, cheese and chicken. And Fry it in a pan or use a fun Sandwich press!

4. Chicken Quesadilla
Tortilla Chicken Shredded Cheese Salsa Sour Cream Avacado is you have it Heat up a frying pan, add tortilla and get it warm, add cheese, chicken, salsa, and avacado. Fold over tortilla and heat on both sides untill cheese is melted. Let cool and cut into 3rds and serve with sour cream.

The chicken will also be wonderful in a stew as it won't have to cook all day.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Katie Kern's Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans

One of the simplest and perhaps scariest ways of cooking is roasting. For some reason when I think of roasting, I see kitchen fires. Maybe it’s because of the DWC I’ve encountered before. Friday, I set off on a quest to roast a chicken.

This might seem complex for a new to the kitchen cook or perhaps tiring to those who are busy, but let me tell you. It is not. It is also very, very cost effective as well. Dinner, not just the bird, was around 15 dollars (this does not include the twine, jar of garlic, or meat thermometer!). And it can feed more than just one. I also have come up with some great uses for leftovers that will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Now, I had to consult a friend on roasting. While I have cook books and the internet, it’s always good to ask a friend about roasting. I also enjoy it because they will give you their tips. I also titled this entry after her.

I knew what I needed and I went off to the grocery store after having sushi and beer. I also looked amazing that day, so the grocery store felt like being a Stepford Wife except not a robot, just looking amazing.

You will need:
A whole chicken that is good for roasting—found in the meat area with the chicken—not a fryer chicken. (Mine was 5.19 pounds and $4.36 and it was not frozen so I did not have to thaw!)
White Potatoes – I bought a 5 pound bag because it was 2.99 and 3 potatoes at market price in weight were $2.00
Garlic—you can buy fresh and mince it, or you can spend about 4 bucks and get a huge jar of already minced garlic that you can stick in the fridge—I suggest the jar as I hate mincing garlic with a passion.
Green beans—about $1.45 for a pound
Lemons- 4 will do ($1)
Can of Chicken Broth ($.50)
Twine ($3.00)
Onion ($.50)
Butter ($2.00)
Half and Half ($1.50)
Salt and pepper you should have
Meat thermometer

Heat the oven the degree that the packaging requires (mine was 350)

Pull Gizzards and gunk from the cavity and clean with water outside and in. Pat chicken dry. Soften 1/4 a stick of butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Rub butter on chicken and salt and pepper the outside skin and inside the cavity. Put a few slices of butter in the cavity. Cut 2 lemons and take one whole lemon and stuff the cavity with them. Using twine, tie the legs up to keep the cavity together.

As you can tell in the picture, I used my fantastic little chili/soup pot rather than a roaster. Pour a little chicken broth in the bottom of your roaster/pot just to cover the bottom, place chicken in pot and put in oven for the time per pound that is needed (mine was 20 minutes per pound)

Let the chicken cook and then 30 minutes before it’s to come out—start on the potatoes

Fill a stock pot, half way up with water and put 4 potatoes in. What? No Peeling? Well if you’d like you a peel and dice them up like I did. But after reading in Cooking Illustrated that boiling potatoes whole and unpeeled produced better mashed potatoes… well hell yeah I am going to do it next time. Add salt and garlic to the water, set it to med-high and wait for it to boil. Boil until potatoes are tender. Drain and peel—use a fork rather than your hands to hold the hot spuds. Put in a bowl and dice up a bit. Now… melt ½ stick of butter and add to the spuds—butter first! Mash up or in my case use a hand mixer. Now had ½ a cup of half and half and mix…. Salt to taste. And cover to keep warm.

In a pan or the pan you used to melt the butter, add a little butter and slice up the onion. Add onions and cook until they are caramelized. This will take a bit of time; I suggest starting it when the potatoes are boiling and almost done.

5 minutes before your chicken buzzer is to go off:
Pull chicken and stick the meat Thermometer into the thigh of the chicken—thickest part—see if you have hit the temp the chicken said was needed (mine was 185 degrees) to be cooked—if not put it back in, if so, pull it and let it rest for 10-15 minutes…

To the caramelized onions: Add garlic and sauté. Add Green beans and sauté. Add ½ cup of chicken broth and let it boil and then bring it back down to a simmer for about 8 minutes.

Carve up the chicken and dinner is served!

Kat and I ate the bird and it was tasty. I then pulled all the meat off the bird to be used for leftovers this week. mmmm.... leftovers.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Roastin' Birds

Now, I am the woman who made thanksgiving in under an hour an a half. So tonight, I am roasting a chicken. Monday you shall have that adventure as well as my ideas of other meals to create with the left overs.

This afternoon I have to find twine. One would think the grocery store would have it, but alas... no.
Last night I baked cookies after getting sushi and having a beer. They were good, but I think I expected too much from an Bon Appetite. I added walnuts and they did not detract nor add to the cookies. I still think the best cookies I ever made were the chocolate white chocolate chip and almond ones. I didn't have Vanilla so i used smoothie mix and I didn't have white sugar so I used brown and I also used Axtec Cocoa so they were spicy.

Ok this was just an update so everyone knows what I going on. I'll post picks and the recipe for the cookies tonight!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Super, Super Easy Enchilladas

Amazingly easy. This is the type of recipe that gets people in the kitchen and saves a busy person from ordering in chinese for the 6th night in a row. It's not authentic what so ever, but you can add in homemade salsa (which I do) and even roast your own chicken for it. Plus it works great with chicken, beans, veggies, or beef. It's also a great way to get those in your family with bland tastebuds to try something new. Serve it up with a salad and there ya go!

Easy Enchiladas
1 jar of Salsa
8-10 Tortillas
1 bag (2cups) of Mon. Jack Mixed Cheese
Half a Rotisseri chicken-- about 2-3 cups--Shredded. (i do by hand but you can use forks too.)1 roma tomato diced

Set oven to 350.

In an oven safe pan (I used my chili/soup pot as it's oven safe), pour some salsa in to just coat the bottom. Take each tortilla and fill with chicken and cheese and roll up and place seam side down in the pan on top of the salsa. Once all are in, cover with rest of salsa and cheese. Cook for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbley.

Cilantro would be great to top it with and a little sour cream never hurt anyone. Salad or some spanish rice on the side would be great. Also carmelizing some onions to go inside the enchiladas with peppers would be wonderful as well, but this was simple and easy to start getting you all in the kitchen!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In the News: Paula Dean, Whole Foods, and Strip (club) Steaks

I’m a dork and read The New York Times. Yes, unlike many I don’t get my news from AOL headlines of E! entertainment TV ALL the time. (sometimes I get it from…) Some people might now take my blog seriously since I do read the Times, but really ya'l lare just assholes for having that logic. It only means I like to be kept up to date on issues, not that I am a genius or want to have martinis at the club with you. Today it seemed that cooking and food was all over the internet front page of the American wannabe “newspaper”, so why not comment on it?

Paula Dean is my hero. It’s not just that she came from nothing or that she adores butter just as much as I do, it’s that she has the most positive attitude I have ever seen. Now, I HATE Racheal Ray’s fake orgasm “mmm” face she gives when she tastes her food, but I love Paula’s “This is fuckin’ awesome, ya’ll” face when she tastes her food. Paula knows that everything needs to be tasted and somethings will take longer than 30 minutes to make and did I mention the butter and deep frying? She’s feisty, feminine, and fantastic with her southern charm—just as a southern woman should be. And for anyone, critic or The NY Times bringing it up, to say she’s not “southern”, can kiss my big fat buttery grits. Paula has taken the warm and belly filling, as well as family gathering southern hospitality of cooking and made it convenient. And really, does a New Yorker even appreciate the wonders of greens, fried chicken on Sundays, and that butter is fantastic? Unless it’s at a trendy fusion restaurant with a wait of over two hours on a Friday night, I think not.

If you are an Austin local or native or even someone who stops in now and again like much of Hollywood, you understand what Whole Foods really is about. The rest of America sees it as just an up-priced grocery store that sells that trendy “organic” stuff. Now, I’m southern in the east coast where our country started kinda way. I know what it’s like getting produce at farm stands on the side of the road or going to a farmer’s market in downtown DC. I had no idea what a GM food was until my senior year of college when I did a huge PR campaign on them (My group took the neutral stance, basically until someone gets cancer or is horribly deformed, we’re cool with GM foods esp if they take pesticides out of the air, land, and water) and after that… I started shopping organic. It also took me a long time to get on the organic bandwagon because dirty hippies liked organic and I hate dirty hippies*. Now, I still do organic when the pay check allows me to and it’s not really that much more than regular produce, but my first chance to get it was at Whole Foods. Sure some grocery stores in the DC area had organic, but not that much of it. Austin is FILLED with it and local farmers and all that jazz. I like supporting Austin businesses not because everyone is about it but because the local businesses rock. They have great products and are super friendly. I go to The Hideout rather than Starbucks at work because I like the Hideout for NOT being Starbucks. And Whole Foods is just that. It might have it’s own “corporate” look and seem like it’s being conformed to society, but how many restaurants in Austin can you name, outside of BBQ ones, where you stand around due to the place not having tables and eat off paper plates with your hands? Whole foods is amazing. You get locally grown goods to support your community, great wine from all over the world, an amazing meat counter with anything you can think of, fantastic cheeses and fresh Seafood, PLUS all the pre-made food that is awesome. It takes the old way of shopping store by store—baker, deli, meat market, cheese shop—and puts it all in one store and you are still supporting the community and not getting chemicals all up in you. So back the fuck off.

I also love the female body and I love steak. So, I’d go here. But I am also a tiny bit of a misogynist so I might end up hating every woman working there. There is a fine line between sexy and wanting good wine poured on your toes. And while I love a good strip tease as the next person, labia and steak might not mix for me. But still, if I find myself in NY, I might just have to head down for a lapdance, some female company, and a good ole steak. Actually, I take that all back. I would take my boyfriend there on March 14th if I could for Steak and BJ day, and NO those girls would not be giving the BJ!

* I don’t actually hate hippies at all. I love hippies of all sort, clean and dirty. Some good friends are even hippies. I actually only hate the dirty hippies who live above me and like to stomp around at midnight or take a shower early in the morning or do their laundry for hours on end—which actually means they are clean hippies, but it’s more fun to call them dirty hippies when one is a librarian doing yoga on her porch… ok. So no, “how do you hate hippies?!” emails.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fancy Pants and Eggs

I adore eggs. Not like I want to make mad passionate fucking with one, but damn they are tasty. Eggs are wonders. First, if you think of what they are, REALLY think about it, you might never eat one again. Second, eggs are just amazing from scrambled, to in cakes, to being made into Mayo. Third, they are the best hangover food. Seriously, think of your last hangover when you had eggs for breakfast, you felt better sooner. I read some serious documented scientific proof on it on some webpage, so i know it's a great cure for hangovers. Some chemical or enzyme. Oh stop rolling your eyes, I was a Communication Major! The only science I took in college was Enviromental Science and I never bothered to show up. No really, I had to call a friend the day of the final because I didn't know where the class was.

But back to the Egg and not my education, or lack there of.

Hangover cures being just one of the mean reasons that eggs are the perfect food for the single chef, busy business person, or just plan no idea how to work the oven yet person.

1. They are cheap: A buck and some change for 18 eggs. That's six two egg omlettes and six birds in a nest. You got dinner and breakfast covered.

2. Baking almost always requires them: Unless you want shortbread...

3. Easy to Make: put a little butter in a hot pan, crack it and there you go or crack it into a bowl and scramble the hell out of it.

I have yet to master the fried egg. I know how to do it, but I don't like fried eggs so I flip them over so the yoke cooks a bit. And there is nothing WORSE than the smell of a slightly burnt egg.

And the trick to scrambled eggs for either omlettes or Frittata's is to scramble the hell out of them so that you can see the air getting into the eggs-- these will be fluffy eggs.

But what the single, busy, and/or scared of the oven persons really want to know is: How the hell do I impress people with EGGS?!

Easy, The Frittata:
You'll Need:

Butter-- a tablespoon or so to coat the bottom
Half an onion sliced (or any veggies really: mushrooms,left over peppers, etc)
Half a tomato diced
Cooked Canadian Bacon or Bacon
shredded cheese
3-4 eggs scrambled (or 6-9 eggs if you are using a 10-12 inch
frying pan)
8-9 inch frying pan/ omlette pan that is oven safe

Heat up the frying pan on the stove on medium and set the oven on Broil
once the frying pan is nice and hot add butter and let it bubble up and melt
Scramble up the eggs so they are nice and fluffy
add onion and let them cook a bit until almost translucent
add tomato and stir a bit
Add eggs and much like an omlete, push the sides back as well as with your spatcula "cut" holes in the bottom to let the uncooked eggs get to the pan and get it so there is only about 1-.5 of an egg left to cook
toss bacon and cheese on top
Throw in oven with Broiler on for a minute or until the eggs have cooked and cheese is bubbley! (WATCH THE OVEN! You saw what happened to me with just toast)


Served up with a nice bloody mary or mimosa it would really be the hangover cure, plus it was cheaper than going to Denny's and you don't have to tip someone who spit in your food. Also, your bed/couch is a lot closer to crawl back into. Which is what I like to do while watching "Whose Wedding Is This?" on Style. Trust me, having eggs in the house is a life saver. Esp if you are the kind of boyfriend that eats your wonderful redhead's two slices of glorious pizza along with your OWN two slices while she's yaking up the MAGNA bottle of wine she drank to get a buzz before going out... (love you!)

(Blogger was being odd this morning, so this post is coming a bit later than I wanted it to.)

The Art of Cooking: or how I became "the single chef"

First of all, my roots in cooking are all over the place. I mainly started as a means to stop eatting the crap on campus. College is an odd time. You are perhaps just as poor as you are when you get your first post grad job, but you don't mind it. You live in tiny quarters, are dirty, drunk and liberated. It's perhaps the only time in your life a cup of Ramen will be tastey and others will not look down on you for eating it. But then you realize Ramen is shit and you want a fuckin steak.

My style of cooking is also all guess work. I get an idea of what I want to make, look up recipes online or in cookbooks and unless it's a baking recipe kinda just throw it all together without really measuring. Sometimes I do measure but after that first making, I add more of this and less of that and create what I want. I make recipes my own, which I hope all of you do as well.

I also have complex issues with tastes. I grew up in the "south' on the coast, went to college in the "north"/south by the nation's capital, and then moved to heart of Texas and date a boy who lives on the coastline of Cali. I traveled all over europe as a teen and into college years. And I love meat and potatoes. I can't blame my mother for my lack until college of understanding cultures and looking back, I feel horrible for turning away from the french dishes we had in Paris. Who I blame is my father.

My mother loves trying new things. She is one of those crazy mom's who asks about your sex life and comes to visit during swim meets to see olympians and comments on their butt cleavage (her term not mine). My father is meat and potatoes, so much so that when I made Guiness Stew he said it was good but didn't care for it. Everyone loves Guiness Stew! He also isn't a casarole person and doesn't like veggies (which I am finding that more men don't care for the same veggies women do. I feel this is due to women feeling the need to be fit so we try veggies in an effort to trim our waistlines while the men still order the Double Whopper). He'd rather have fast food over grilled chicken. So my mom made what she made and I suffered without actually knowing.

I am learning to overcome those issues and trying new things. Like Fish. I grew up on the ocean, but i can't stand seafood. Well, I am ok with it now. The boy took me out on a fancy little date back in Dec when I was out visiting to The Top of the Market. We had wine, we looked at the bay, and I ate fish. Mahi Mahi, and I loved it. I had it then over Christmas while out with friends from high school, who were amazed. Hell, I even had sushi this past weekend. Ok, it was Texan Surf and Turf which was Tempura shrimp and mango wraped in the seaweed and sushi rice and then topped with slivers of Kobe beef, but the point of the matter is that I ate it and I liked it. I actually now really want to try a Philly Roll as I love cream cheese almost as much as I love butter, so I am trying to get the roomie and friends to go to the downtown sushi place I was at last weekend for sushi happy hour. (and no it is not the sushi place that Ryan Phillippe was spotted cheating on Reese)

This is typically how my affairs with food start. I love food first and formost and feel everyone should understand that. I am also a scale freak who had to give it up for Lent in order to maintain my sanity. I workout so I can eat that butter. I'd rather get the steak and creme brule and then have a good workout the next day over getting a side salad any day. I love and honor food and want to taste it all.

Food isn't just nurishment for your body, but also your mind. Food brings back memories of gatherings and of our culture. In "ethnic" foods, you can taste the soul and experience the fruits of the land that those of that culture come from. The spices, the richness, the ease of the skillet, to the all day pot sitting on the heat and ofcourse the chefs behind them all. Those men and women who take it upon themselves to not just feed their families and friends, but to defy the tastebuds and define a dish.

Make your kitchen and your home your native country, and create the meals that define you as you are. Enjoy the butter and the spices. Savor the mess-ups and kitchen fires. Learn and grow while in your apron. And then upgrade and add a bit of yourself to each recipe...

At the end of the day I am 23 turning 24. I was born in the south and love grits on christmas morning. I was educated in the "north" and love the class of fine dining. I moved to the deep south and appreciate how a well smoked, and bbqed piece of meat will melt in your mouth. I love in the west and fill myself up on the sunshine and water and all the goods that are natural. And that is my cooking culture.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Spicy Meatball!

I love making meatballs and sauce! It makes me feel like I am back in the "old country", nevermind the fact that I have no italian blood in me and my irish family would look at me as a freak cooking something without potatoes. But making sauce from "scratch" is so easy and really stress relieving, I wonder why anyone picks up a jar. Why not have something that you made hitting the table?


  • 1 pound of hamburger meat

  • 2/3 cup of breadcrumbs

  • 1 egg

  • about 3 drops of hot sauce

  • 2 cloves of garlic minced

  • quater of an onion

  • sprinkle+ of: italian seasoning, salt and pepper, cracked red pepper, anything else you'd like


  • half an onion

  • two cloves of garlic minced

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes

  • 1 can of sauce

  • 2tablespoons of tomato paste

  • salt

  • pepper

  • cracked red pepper

  • Oregano

  • italian seasoning

  • olive oil-- 2-4 second drop


Put everything into a bowl, hand combine everything together, then put back in fridge if it has gotten warm. roll bits into balls.heat a pan up and place them in, turning so all sides get browned

Sauce:In a pot that has been warming, add olive oil and let it get warm. add garlic, cracked red pepper, and onion and let them cook up but not brown-- no one likes burnt garlic. add diced tomatoes, sauce, and tomato paste, let it come to a boil, add all the seasonings and mix it, lower heat and let it simmer to thicken

Add meatballs to sauce and cook up pasta or get the hoagies ready for meatball subs.

The meatballs were so tender it was amazing and this meal actually made about 3-4 meals. Which is great as you can have spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, meatballs with veggies, and so on and so. Lunches and dinners for 2 days is always wonderful! Plus, what kid wouldn't love a small meatball sub with carrot sticks for lunch the following day?

Spaghetti and Meatballs always makes me think of home even though I can't recall one time my mom ever made it. It takes me back to when sitting down with family for a meal was fun and the food was steaming hot.

Italian meals, perhaps due to those damned Olive Garden Commericals... fuck you marketing!, always make me think of family sitting around the table. Maybe it's because I remember how my grandmother always will burn the bread or that my aunt will ask for the salt 100 times or perhaps even that my mom will silently take the crap her sisters dish at her during dinner, but a good meal with those you love even through the parts that annoy you, is always a great time.

It's hard when you are a single person. We spent years defining ourselves as these individuals but what we really want is the close companionship of family. This is why those in their 20's and on the start of their adventurous lives in new places make their friends their family. So call some friends up to bring over wine, salad, and bread. Cook up these meatballs and laugh at the family that you have that helps you get through the life you are leading now.

Red Dot, not Feather: Even white girls can make indian food raita way (haha)

I just got my Le Creuset Tagine (it's in the Lemongrass green that I adore! As you can tell by my blog, I loooove green. It's fresh and fun.) and had to get cooking. I have been eyeing the tagine for over a year and got it for christmas. But since I was flying from Virginia to California and then home to Austin, carrying the damned thing on my lap was not an option. So my mother kept it. No she actually kept it. I had to go to WS and buy myself one. I also picked up some of Williams and Sonoma's Tikki Malsala simmering stuff since I didn't feel like having to make anything from scratch.

What I did:
5 breasts of chicken cut into pieces
1/2 bag of frozen pees
1/2 bag of crinkle cut carrots
2 potatoes cut into pieces
2 tomatoes diced
1 onion sliced
Simmering Sauce
Garlic minced-- 2-3 cloves
olive oil
kosher salt

Get oil nice and hot in a chili pot or stock pot add onions and garlic to get them going but not burnt, throw in chicken and get that cooked upadd potatoes and frozen veggies and let cook up for about 3 minutesadd tomatoes and tikki simmering sauce. I add salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cumin since I love to taste the flavors but it might be too much for others.bring down to a simmer and let go for about 45 minutes - 1 hour

Fried Pita...get a frying pan nice and hot. Oil up a pita and salt both sides with kosher salt and fry up, I flip them over from side to side every few minutes rather than let them just sit until done.

Gin's Raita-- cucumber salad1/4 cup of plain yogurt1/4 cucumber dicedcumin, pepper, half a lemon juice. mix all up and add it to pita or indian dish!

I love Indian food. It's so soulful and rich. It's also very easy. As my old boss use to say, "Indian food is just whatever you have thrown in a pot with curry and shit and thrown on the stove all day". He was a little indian man who cursed more than I did, which I respected right away. You don't need a tagine to do it, any stock pot will work wonders. It also is not going to make you sick or any thing like that. It has great flavor and tastes like heaven. It is also great to serve with rice.

I also love my Tagine. It's like art work that you can use and not from some guy you dated in college. Speaking of which, I think college is when I really learned how to cook. When you think about it, a tagine is a tiny bit scary.

It's odd, you've never used it-- unless you HAVE used it-- and outside of that Le Crueset makes it and it's pretty and matches your kitchen (or kitchen of the future) you don't really have a use for it. Sure it's like a dinosaurs Crockpot, but unless you read a reciped, you'd have no idea about that. And that's what cooking will always be like: some horrible new experience that is deathly terrorfying while also being very exciting. Much like those first meals you made...

We all have great tools in our kitchen and odd things we wonder WHY we have them (like how everyone I have ever lived with has complained about my egg whisk until they use it JUST to scramble an egg). But I realized in college that if i could survive off mac and cheese made in a hot pot and used my brand new iron to make grilled cheese (and then iron a suit...) I guess I can make anything and do anything I put my mind to.

I heart butter: a tale of shortbread

Because, nothing says "healthy eater" like a stick of butter, some flour and sugar that is baked and then drizzeled with the liquid form of powdered sugar and lemon juice...

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8th cup sugar
Combine ingred and mix, roll into a ball and place on clingwrap and flatten into a disk. Put in fridge for about 30 minutes and preheat oven to 250. put dough into a cake pan and flatten out. Put in oven for 30 minutes and then rotate and then bake another 30ish minutes. Put on cooling rack and cut into triangles while still warm (if it cools it will crumble when you try to cut it)
Lemon icing. 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar and 3 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. put in a small bowl and mix 1/2 teaspoon in with hang mixer. Drizzle on shortbread once cooled.

THIS is why you keep sticks of butter in the fridge, stockpiled as if you are expecting the Reds to drop a Nuc on you. I kept it in the fridge for over a week and had a slice at night with tea. It was comfort during the "cool" 3 week winter of Austin.

Butter is fantastic. What woman, because a man would give up churning long before it was butter or even heavy cream, ever took that milk and churned and churned just a bit too long and created butter is my hero. Even though I am on a "diet", I still pick up butter just incase I want to make some cookies or need to roast a chicken or might want to butter myself up for fantastic sex... waaaait

Advice: Do not be a victim of DWC

I never can figure out how i get into these messes. I'm not ADD, I swear. If I was I would have taken full advantage of it in college to take my sweet ass time with tests. But my odd form of forgetting that, oh i dunno, the bruschetta that you posted about being so fucking easy is in the oven on broil after it was toasted and then garliced up and cheese added and with like 20 minutes before guests are going to show up.Or maybe how many glasses of wine I've had while cooking and then getting side tracked by E!'s Real Hollywood Story of Brit Brit's melt down (who did not see that coming?!) and forgetting I am waiting for a sauce to reduce and YAY! I get burnt ass chicken in a nice non-stick pan over sticky rice.

Bastards I tell you.

Now, I love a cocktail just as much as the next recovering college graduate. But there are times and places for them. A Big glass of wine is just fine while you are cooking or maybe a nice vodka tonic or 3. But never, should you start taking shots while cooking. Unless you'll be serving that food in the next like 15 minutes.

Being a victim of DWC, drinking while cooking, is never good. One you just ruined a perfectly good meal and two, well unless its a big holiday do you really have a reason to get bombed while roasting a chicken?

Oh fuck it. We all want a drink. I want a drink right now and it's only 2:08pm. I get excited about happy hour dates when I get up the morning of. Booze and cooking will always go hand in hand BUT be careful...

Victims of DWC:

It's white wine sauce, not white wine.... Looking like an alcoholic is never fun. No one wants the next party they go to to be an intervention. When it says a cup, don't add two to give it more of a white wine taste... add 1/4 a cup a few minutes before serving.

Mommy's Hiccups mean she loves you... Little Joey's birthday is tomorrow and being super mom with juggling your full time career and running a house while your lump for a husband sits on the couch relaxing because he's had a "bad day" you forgot to make the cupcakes for his class because you don't send him to a pussy school that says cupcakes are bad for kids (pussies I tell you!) and oh look it's 10pm and there are 24 kids who want a tastey treat... No one wants to have to explain to Lil' joey that mommy has a "problem" and that's why they are taking him out of her care for taking burbon cupcakes to school. (but the kids really loved them and really, the uppers in sugar and downers in booze would mellow kids out wonderfully!)

Happy Holidays!... No one likes their family, at least not their ENTIRE family. But no one wants to have to eat burnt turkey and pretend it's good. Save the drink and belitting comments for the meal, it's more fun that way.

I have an Eating Disorder, I binge but never purge... It's 2 am. you have a frozen pizza just calling for you. You've also had 8 mixed drinks, 4 shooters, and flashed a co-worker, plus while 8 minutes isn't that much time, it's just enough for your drunk ass you pass out and not smell the burning flames of pizza until an hour later when a fireman is pulling from your apartment in just panties, your heels, and a tshirt.

Just, leave the drunk cooking to the guys at IHOP.


Simple my ass. Ok they were simple. And tasty. They were gone and everyone loved them.
But when I did the cheese step, I went to do something else. As we know with a broiler... that can't be done.

I also decided to put them in the oven after topping them with bruschetta. Mmmm. Oh and more cheese. Because who doesn't love cheese?!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Appetizer of the Year: Bruschetta!

What brought me back to the idea of this blog was a new friend and how amazed she was that I made from scratch cream cheese icing. Now many of you have only picked up frosting from the store and yes until about two years ago I was just like you and had no idea that frosting or icing could be made at home very easily and taste better than sex (well, some sex), but cream cheese icing is simpler than pie, so I realized that there are so many people out there missing out on really easy recipes that are just plum amazing.

I realized that there are more than a handful of people I know who are deathly afraid of the kitchen and more than likely use their oven only for storage, but when you have a few hundred bucks left after bills and rent and cute shoes, oh and student loans, to survive on you soon realize that 5-10 dollars a day for lunch and 8-20 for dinner adds up. I want to give people recipes they can use to make lunches with leftovers and how to save some dough and make amazing meals with the right ingredients.

And it's not just the money part, it's also that its nice to actually be able to make something. It's like arts and crafts time except you can eat it and make others happy. No one turns down a cookie. I don't care what diet I am on, I want that cookie damn it.

I'm no Martha Stewart or Julia Child. I am learning just like all of you, so lets start simple.

I am actually making this for tonight for the Oscars. So why not feature it:

Simple and Easy Bruschetta
What you need:
1 can of diced tomatoes drained*
half an onion diced
1 clove of garlic minced
1 loaf of french bread
mozzarella cheese (shredded is what I used)
1 clove of garlic

Slice the bread on an angle
Turn on oven to broil
toast bread on both sides (about 1-2 minutes per side-- WATCH the bread!)
rub the non-minced clove of garlic on one side of the bread
sprinkle a bit of cheese on each piece and toast until cheese is melted

mix the can of tomatoes, onion and garlic together
top the pieces of bread and serve

* I personally typically have several cans on diced tomatoes, tomate paste, and tomato sauce in my pantry. They are great to have around for chili, stews, your own tomato sauces for pasta and pizza and to use for things like this.

Tomorrow: Learning to cook for one or creating meals out of other meals

What and Who is The Single Chef

What: The Single Chef is a blog about cooking. But not just any cooking blog, this is for the twenty-somethings right out of college with cooking experience limited to a microwave, the person who eats out, orders in, and picks up the majority of their meals and is feeling the pinch in the pocketbook, and the person who feels they are too busy to make a healthy meal for themselves. I wanted to write about how cooking is fantastic, makes you feel fantastic, and how easy it is to cook for one or two as well as create great dishes for parties. You don't need state of the art kitchen gear to do it either. Also, how to take those leftovers and make a fantastic lunch for the next day so you aren't wasting food and not just re-eating dinner.

How: Everyday (hopefully) I will update this blog with a new recipe, pictures of me making tastey dishes, and the list for ingredients you'll need as well as tips, tricks, and what any person should have in their pantry. This is so you will see how easy and quick it is to cook for yourself and start to see how great it is to cook.

Why:I'm 23, ok ok almost 24, and just really started cooking when I was 20. It was the first time I had a kitchen of my own. Sure I'd made grilled cheese, Mac and Cheese and cookies from a bag: but nothing from scratch or semi-scratch. In the past three years, I have learned to recreate meals I love, try new things, and bake. Cooking is a passion now for me. And when I make cookies or baked brie or even spinach dip for parties people my age are always shocked and say they couldn't do it: I want to show people THEY CAN!

Who:I'm Ginni. Orginally from the East Coast and now living in Austin, Texas. I have NO professional training in the Culinary Arts and I will make mistakes and learn from them and pass them on to you. I am in my twenties. I love food, wine, and hosting parties.

(yes, is me. I had the idea in september and then never followed through...and then forgot my user name....)